Definition of festival in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfestəvəl/


1A day or period of celebration, typically a religious commemoration: a tabulation of saints' days and other festivals [as modifier]: a festival atmosphere
More example sentences
  • We do celebrate more religious festivals than most schools, but the children enjoy it.
  • Here in Doi Tung, these tribal villagers continue to celebrate their ancient festivals and religious rituals.
  • When my sister taught at a junior school they celebrated all the religious festivals.
fair, carnival, fiesta, jamboree, celebrations, festivities, fest
holy day, feast day, saint's day, commemoration, day of observance
1.1An annual celebration or anniversary: highlights of this year’s pumpkin festival
More example sentences
  • Mike and his committee are determined to make their tenth anniversary festival a memorable one.
  • Jackie said the school would want to be a part of any city-wide anniversary festival.
  • The High School also plans to hold an annual technology festival for children from local primary schools.
1.2An organized series of concerts, plays, or movies, typically one held annually in the same place: numbers that are still heard at traditional jazz festivals
More example sentences
  • The films were hand picked by organisers who travelled and networked with major international film festivals.
  • Of course, the presence of two major international jazz festivals also contributes to the country's jazzy well-being.
  • It's great for films, festivals, concerts, and of course the opportunity to study at the university.


Middle English (as an adjective): via Old French from medieval Latin festivalis, from Latin festivus, from festum, (plural) festa 'feast'.

  • feast from Middle English:

    People have been celebrating special occasions with a feast since the Middle Ages, and appropriately the word goes back to Latin festus meaning ‘joyous’. Festival (Middle English) derives from the closely related Latin word festivus. A festoon (mid 17th century) comes from the same root, being at first a festival ornament. In the Christian Church the date of some festivals like Easter, known as movable feasts, varies from year to year. A skeleton at the feast is someone or something who casts gloom on what should be a happy occasion. This goes back to a story told in the 5th century bc by the Greek historian Herodotus. In ancient Egypt a painted carving of a body in a coffin was carried round the room at parties, and shown to guests with the warning that this was how they would be one day.

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Syllabification: fes·ti·val

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